NY teacher promised his students an eclipse party in 1978 — and he kept his vow more than four decades later

It was like no time had eclipsed.

When Patrick Moriarty first began teaching earth science in 1978, he promised his ninth-grade students they would reunite for the next eclipse that would pass their hometown near Rochester, New York.

The educator kept his word — more than four decades later.

About 100 of Patrick Moriarty’s former students gathered at his home in Brighton, New York, to take in the eclipse. Courtesy Caitlin Moriarty Hynick

On Monday, about 100 of Moriarty’s former students gathered in the driveway of his Brighton home to watch the sky grow darker as the moon journeyed over the sun.

“I mentioned to the students, ‘See that one on April 8, 2024? Circle that one. We’re gonna meet that day,” the retired educator, now 68, recalled to The Post on Tuesday.

The then-22-year-old first-year teacher had just given his students a worksheet about eclipses.

From that point on, Moriarty invited all of the earth science classes he taught over the next 16 years, telling students to circle the date and keep their eyes peeled for a message from him in the future, likely in the local Democrat and Chronicle newspaper.

“I did say unless there’s any other way in 2024 you can get ahold of people easier than that,” he noted.

The former teacher ended up making an event on Facebook in 2022 to begin planning for the celestial speculation.

Moriarty was an earth science teacher in Webster, telling students for decades to come watch the eclipse in 2024 with him. Shawn Dowd/Rochester Democrat and Chronicle / USA TODAY NETWORK

While about 100 former students showed up — some with partners and children — hundreds of others reached out from places as far as New Zealand to express how they wished they could attend.

The event went off without a hitch, Moriarty said, detailing how he and his wife bought drinks and pizzas and set up chairs in their driveway.

He even borrowed his daughter’s karaoke machine so that he could use the microphone to provide educational commentary as the rare astronomical event grew closer.

But for the proud educator, it was about so much more.

Former students showed up with their partners and children to take in the spectacle. Courtesy Patrick Moriarty

“I have had the opportunity to reconnect with so many of my students who have shared such wonderful things about being in my classroom and the impact of teachers,” he said.

“This was an ‘Oh my gosh, I guess I did OK. I had an impact on these kids.’ type of moment,” he described.

Moriarity had been able to reconnect with many of his former students on social media before Monday, many of whom would ask if he still planned to have them for the eclipse.

Moriarty made an event on Facebook about two years ago to begin getting in contact with students about the event. Courtesy Patrick Moriarty

“The answer was always yes, we are. April 8, 2024. Look for it on Facebook,” he said.

Facebook also helped him recognize some students, though Moriarty says teachers have a way of locking in and remembering faces even decades later.

“It was so interesting seeing them walking up bald or with gray hair, and looking at me like, ‘You’re still my teacher’ and I could see in their faces, in their adult faces now, what they looked like when they were 14,” he said.

Moriarty next plans on running for the school board in Penfield Courtesy Patrick Moriarty

Moriarty, who has been retired for a little over a decade, also spent 17 years in school administration.

His next great adventure is running for school board in Penfield, a suburb about 10 minutes from his home where three of his grandchildren go to school.

“I want to be a voice of experience and a voice of reason,” he said.